BSP president Mayawati claims Dalits prevented from cremating body, demands probe

The incident was reported on July 19, but Pooja’s relatives did not lodge a complaint, taking it as a routine affair.

Published: 28th July 2020 12:36 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th July 2020 11:40 AM   |  A+A-

BSP president Mayawati

BSP president Mayawati (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

LUCKNOW: BSP chief Mayawati has demanded investigation and strict action in a case in which the body of a woman belonging to the ‘Nat’ community was not allowed to be cremated by the upper caste Thakurs in an Agra village recently. In a series of tweets, she said: “In Agra, the body of a Dalit woman was removed from the pyre by those with casteist mentality, which is most shameful and condemnable.” 

In another tweet, she said: “A high-level inquiry should be set up by the UP government and the culprits given the strictest punishment so that such incidents don’t recur.” Sources said a section of the upper castes not only objected to the cremation but also forced the relatives of Pooja (26) to remove her corpse from the pyre from Kakrapura village and shift it to another cremation ground meant for the Dalit community, around 4 km away.

The incident was reported on July 19, but Pooja’s relatives did not lodge a complaint, taking it as a routine affair. Sources said in Kakrapura gram panchayat, there are 11 cremation grounds. As Dalits’ land is encroached upon by another upper caste man of the same village, Pooja’s relatives decided to cremate her body at the common ground.

“As Pooja’s four-year-old son was about to light the pyre, the Thakurs rushed in and asked the assembled community members to take the body away to a ground allocated to Dalits,” said a villager. The episode led to a stand-off between the relatives of the deceased and the Thakurs. The intervention by gram pradhan, administration, local leaders and the police failed to resolve the issue.

Finally, the relatives of the deceased took her body about 4 km away to the Nagla Lal Das cremation ground. Sources said the Thakurs justified their action, saying they could not allow other communities to use their space. The police said since the family of the deceased did not file a complaint, no case was registered and the issue was settled.

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